At MEDA’s GROW (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women) project office in Tamale, Ghana, we understand the importance of practical teaching opportunities, which is why both the Tamale and Wa GROW offices host local interns throughout the year. Since January of 2018, the Tamale GROW office has had the pleasure of hosting a Monitoring & Evaluation intern, Farida Latif. Farida is a student completing a post graduate diploma in Community Development. As part of her curriculum at the Trent-In-Ghana Program offered at the University of Cape Coast, Farida was required to complete a 3-month mandatory internship with a non-government organization. Farida had a list of a dozen organizations to choose from and decided to apply to three organizations in the Northern Region. The two organizations she heard back from were MEDA and CARE International. She decided to proceed with the opportunity at MEDA.
During a class on livelihood and food security in Africa, her interest in sustainable livelihood frameworks was rekindled after conducting research for her undergraduate studies on poverty reduction in Ghana. Having grown up in Accra, the capital of Ghana, Farida knew she wanted to be involved with an organization committed to regional food security which is a longstanding result of the GROW project (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women Project).
Farida met with Karen Walsh, the Country Project Manager in December 2017 to better understand what to expect during her time with MEDA, what was expected of her as an intern and to meet the GROW Monitoring & Evaluation team. After the winter holidays, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Farida started working at MEDA’s GROW office in Tamale on Jan. 8th, 2018. She was eager to gain experience at MEDA to assess whether community development was the right career path for her.
As a Monitoring & Evaluation intern, Farida is part of a team of professionals on the GROW staff in Tamale. She began her internship scanning coupons that GROW farmers purchase towards equipment from Technology Fund vendors and has gained experience working with GROW’s five KFPs (key facilitating partners). Farida works with these KFPs to examine inconsistencies during data collection before data is used for final reports. Farida has also assisted in reviewing M&E questionnaires to evaluate whether survey questions are relevant to the objectives of the program and asked in an unbiased manner. Group work has been a large part of her time at MEDA. During her second week at GROW, she began training new KFP (key facilitating partners) staff to use upgraded data collection tools.
Farida’s goal as an intern is to balance learning as much as she can while contributing to the GROW’s project objectives. She conducts semi structured interviews with local partners to acquire a different perspective of the project for her final report. She has noticed that the KFPs have acute and in-depth knowledge of the entire GROW project, which came as a surprise since they are local NGOs. Farida also learned that at some of the KFPs, such as ProNet, the field officers are not limited to working on one project.
At the end of her three months in March, Farida completed her time with the Monitoring & Evaluation team. She was then offered an extension of her MEDA internship. Now she trains and supervises other interns because she believes to teach is to learn twice. She has coordinated creating a Value Chain Actor Survey as well as selected and trained enumerators (an independent contracted person in charge of data collection) for data collection.
After 11 months at MEDA, Farida has been selected to join the UNFPA Youth Leader fellowship program in Accra. This year long opportunity will offer Farida leadership training, mentorship and on the job training to prepare her as a local leader in Ghana. Farida would like to continue working for a different NGO for at least another two years to gain more development and conflict management experience before pursuing her Master’s degree. We wish her best of luck in this future endeavor.